The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 provides that outer space is the province of all humankind and is to be used for the benefit of all countries. Nonetheless, the allocation of highly desirable "real estate" in the geosynchronous orbit ("GSO") around the Earth's equator is a point of international controversy. Developing equatorial countries have asserted sovereignty over the orbital space "above" their territorial borders with the hope of extracting rent from developed countries that launch satellites into the GSO. So far, the international community has rejected this notion, but the legal status of the GSO remains in limbo. This Note argues that rather than determining the future of outer space by analogy to traditional notions of national sovereignty, it is beneficial to acknowledge that outer space is inherently different and is in need of its own sui generis legal regime.
The Geosynchronous Orbit and the Outer Limits of Westphalian Sovereignty,
3 Hastings Sci & Tech. L. J. 471
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